A Darker Shade of Magic book discussion

Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Week 13)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Welcome to the A Darker Shade of Magic book discussion! We are going to have a blast reading along together. Each week, following the schedule, my friend Jackie and I will recap that particular week’s chapters with hilarious commentary. At the end of each discussion post, there will be a few questions to get the party started. These questions serve as food for thought. All comments related to the book and this week’s chapters are always welcome! Remember: I am giving away a copy of the paperback edition of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (for extra entries, comment below)! Now, let’s get this party started!

This week, we'll be discussing Part 13, Chapter 4 to 6 and Part 14, Chapter 1 to end. To depict our thoughts in the most coherent way possible (after all, this is a dialogue between friends), my font color will stay black and Jackie's color will be red.

DISCLAIMER: Spoilers ahead! This post discusses this week’s chapters of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. If you do not want to be spoiled on what happens in the book, don’t read any further.

Part 13: Chapter 4

Jeanna: Uh, where to start? For a quick recap, Kell was able to defeat Athos and Lila is currently in some trouble fighting Astrid. While Kell is catching a much-needed breath, Lila is practically dying in the throne room. We all knew this was coming, right? Lila going up against Astrid is suicide. Astrid is one half of the evil duo of White London, possibly the deadliest in all of the Londons. And as much as Lila has brains on her side, she also doesn’t know magic nor White London language. She’s out of her weapons pretty quickly. Astrid smiles through the whole thing. Just like Athos, she thinks this is hilarious. Look at this human trying to defeat me, hilarious. And, also like Athos, she finally bites the dust!

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Astrid knells on top of Lila and does some spells. Even without the necklace she is able to change her form to look like Lila. Lila is knocked unconscious and left in the throne room while Astrid seeks out Kell to murder him. Jokes on her though, because even though she’s disguised as Lila, Kell sees right through her. He stabs her using the Stone, which is now the full Stone (he reunited the pieces!). With that power, he is able to stab her then turn her to stone. Then he uses his Antari magic to shatter her to pieces. Astrid dead! Yes! For Rhy! For Lila! 

Jackie: Not good enough Astrid, not good enough. I mean, like this beginning chapter that we are discussing was so satisfying. Not only because one of the worst villains of the books was finally vanquished, though that was a part of it, but we finally get some closure and answers in this chapter and the last chapters of the book. Anyway, I remember reading this section, at first thinking, oh my god is Schwab really going to kill off Lila now?! Especially when Astrid disguised herself as Lila, I was not sure whether Kell would fall for it or not, and I thought Lila may die at this point if Kell didn’t figure it out, but he did! Go Kell! 

I thought that this violent and relatively quick way that she was killed suited her character. I mean, in reality she was a magic-hungry monster out to seek control over Kell and the Londons. I was so happy that Kell was able to figure out her true identity and get rid of her. I believe that she had no idea what was coming to her. Again, SO SATISFYING. For an evil character like that to be taken out by surprise...pure genius, Schwab.

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Jeanna: I was terrified when I was reading this chapter. You had told me a few days ago that the book was crazy and all I could think was that this was how it was going to end. Lila is going to die. And Astrid is going to go have adventures with Kell and he won’t even know. I felt some real tears coming on. Lila is one of my favorites, if not favorite character and I wouldn’t have been surprised if Schwab had let it happen that way. I would be super disappointed but not surprised. 

And thank you! It didn’t go down as I thought it would. Lila didn’t die! Kell recognized Astrid! And Astrid was killed! Thank you! 

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Her death scene was so swift and powerful! It must have been a slap in the face to her. I would have loved to had been there just to see her face. And it’s amazing that Kell is able to know Lila enough that he knew almost immediately that it wasn’t her. At this point, he’s also struggling with the power of the Stone so with that taking up some of his brain power is even more amazing that he was able to focus enough on knowing that it was Astrid playing a trick. 

The worst part of the whole scene was Lila’s perspective on it - how she was ready to die. She had her adventure and that’s what she wanted and if this is how it had to end, she was okay with that. And I’m certainly not okay with that. Lila needs to go on several more adventure before I’ll ever, if ever, be okay with that. 

Also, I loved that Schwab brought more details in that we didn’t know about. We’ve been in the throne room before. And here Lila saw it for the first time last chapter and it’s like seeing it with new eyes. Plus, there also happens to be bones in the walls. That’s new. 

Jackie: I agree, I believe that she must have felt so slighted when her end came so unexpectedly from Kell. Which, by the way, you mentioned Kell’s connection and knowledge of Lila’s mannerisms, which was a BIG DEAL in this chapter. In reality, the events of this book were not over a long period of time, so that means that Kell knew Lila and her personality, thoughts, and actions well enough to decipher the fake Lila from the real one. I mean, that’s honestly an incredible amount of observation, listening, and meticulous in general to notice the subtle differences between the fake Lila and real Lila. But, I guess after all the time they spent together on this adventure, it makes sense in the end. 

I agree with you on Lila’s perspective as well. I was so upset at that point because I thought Schwab was preparing her readers for Lila’s death. 

Now that I think about it though, no other character, except the ones controlled by a soul seal, were prepared and ready for death on their own terms. Lila is such a versatile and intriguing character in the way that she was ready to let it all go if she had to. I mean in reality, who is really that accepting of death? Especially for a pirate who wants her lifetime of adventure? 
I was happy though that Lila made it through everything, and that hopefully she will be able to continue having awesome adventures with Kell. 

I enjoyed the extra details Schwab added in as well. I mean, this gave a whole new feeling to the chapter, the settings we were placed in, just everything. Truly, this chapter may have been one of my favorites because I felt like it was one of the most well-written of the book in the way of how every action, thought, and word was unexpected, yet not completely surprising because we know the characters so well at this point. Schwab, even though I suffered through the unknown of this book and begged you to stop with being so mysterious and high and mighty, you truly did well in wrapping up this book. I think this is one of my favorite endings and wrap-ups in a book in probably...ever. 

Jeanna: You just summed up everything so well! 

Kell knowing Lila extremely well just is icing on the cake. My ship is sailing right into the sunset, I can see it now. It is a big deal, like you said. All those times when we thought Kell was off thinking about the tasks at hand or having a good banter session with Lila, he was actually taking note of her and listening to what she has to say. The way he was able to tell so fast is probably the highest form of flattery, I’d say.

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Discussing the book with you, even though we are on our last group of chapters, has been so eye-opening and rewarding. I want to go back and reread the whole thing over again just to experience it all again. Schwab has definitely put together something magical here.

Part 13: Chapter 5

Am I the only one who went deja vu when the real Lila made it down the steps? She asked Kell how he was able to tell the two apart. And Kell replies that it was easy since Astrid had said, “please.” HAHA! I was laughing through my tears at that point. The end of the world is near but Kell and Lila can still joke together so all must be great, right? NO. It is not okay!

This tactic is used by Schwab again and again. All looks great, right? Must be great then. No, she’s about to kill some people. So, all readers watch out.

Kell is still fighting the Stone. And now since he has reunited the two pieces, it’s getting harder to fight in victory. He can’t control it any longer. Kell is about to run off to Black London and leave Lila behind in White London. (I’m still bitter about this plan.) Despite almost dying at the hands of the White London ruler, the White London citizens aren't big fans of her either. So, when they find out that the rulers are dead, it’s going to be total chaos. If I had to guess, there’s going to be a full-on war in the streets for who gets to be a ruler next. And Lila is going to be stuck in that mess, no, thank you. However, Kell doesn’t get very far in enacting this plan since he doubles over in power-overload.

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The Stone takes him inside his mind where he apparently looks like the villain from American Horror Story season 1- and believe me, that’s terrifying. Kell tries to hold on to something, anything that is not this power overtaking him but it looks like he is on the losing side. The Stone grabs his heart. From far away, Lila is able to speak with him, reminding him about what he has to fight for. He holds on to the notion that if he dies, then Rhy dies. He is able to push the Stone back a bit. Lila reminds him, also, of a spell that could make the Stone disappear. Kell should really study up on his spells if he had this spell in his arsenal the whole time and Lila is the one to make him remember it. He could have killed the Stone at any point, couldn’t he have? (Of course, then there would be no book.) He uses the spell and Stone’s power is gone. 

Jackie: Oh yeah, I was laughing when Kell said that Astrid said “please,” so that’s what told him that the true Lila was not present, and instead this was Astrid impersonating Lila. I think those two could joke through category 5 hurricane to be honest. 

That’s something else too. Kell and Lila’s humor. I think that this is one of the pillars of their relationships with one another and their friendship in general. They always are able to ground themselves in any situation by using their humor with one another. I feel like Schwab was living vicariously through these two characters and their banter with one another. Anyway, their relationship is just everything in this book, and makes every scene so much more versatile and intriguing to read. 

I feel like when Schwab is about to kill a lot of people that we needed a siren to warn all fellow readers and characters in the book to move away, something like this…

Yeah, I was not too happy about Kell still wanting to stick to his, no “Lila can’t go to Black London with Kell” plan, but I guess that doesn’t matter, because as you said, Kell is on like a power overdrive from the Stone and collapses to the ground. Thinking about the two halves of the Stone being together means like a big energy surge constantly coursing through Kell’s body, that’s got to be awful. Like he was having trouble enough controlling one-half of the Stone, now he has to control both halves? No way, brother, he’s going down for the count. 

I was so intrigued with how Schwab presented this magical force, like I could definitely picture something like this (below) as the magic that Kell is having a conversation with. I mean I know in the end that Kell ended up defeating the Stone and everything, but what if he had nothing left to fight for?

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What if something had happened to Rhy along the way, and that made Kell not able to resist the urge to just give up? I mean, sure maybe Lila would still be there trying to help him battle this foe, but would Kell have been strong-willed enough to defeat it? Honestly, I’m not sure if he would have been. I would have hoped that for his and Lila’s sake that he would save them, but his friendship and connection with Rhy was what stopped Kell from falling under and giving up hope. 

Anyway, just a fruit for thought. 

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Jeanna: Yes, yes, yes. You know exactly what to say, Jackie. In A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab has given us the perfect balance of plot and characters. She makes you feel something for the characters as soon as they are introduced. That is some amazing writing! The relationship that Kell has with Lila and even the relationship that he has with Rhy is beautiful. They enhance the reading experience tenfold. We didn’t get many scenes with Rhy and Kell together. Nor did we get many scenes with just Kell and Lila together. However, somehow, Schwab was able to weave such amazing scenes using these characters that we will love forever. She has created the foundations and very high expectations for these characters that everyone is sure to be shattered if something were to happen to them in the sequels.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy but at the end of the movie, the main character, Peter, takes hold of the Infinity Stone which is this all-powerful stone. However, despite being a half-god, Peter cannot hold the Stone alone. I thought Kell was on the losing side of this. I was so worried for him. And even just having the scare of my life in the last chapter, I once again thought a main character was going to die. And this time it would be Kell. Thank goodness, Kell is stronger than Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy!

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For a moment there, it did look hopeless. And if Lila hadn’t mentioned Rhy’s name, if she hadn’t remembered that there was a spell to make this all go away, I don’t think it would have ended quite as it did. Kell would have become a mindless vessel. What pushed him to save himself, to save the world was all because of Rhy I think.

Part 13: Chapter 6

All the zombies drop dead. Just like that. It astounds me that no one seemed to notice all these zombies in the first place. I wonder if the people of Red London will notice all the DEAD zombies. This, of course, includes Gen which I’m upset about. Well, I think I’m more upset about Gen and Parrish since I really liked that duo but now they’re both gone.

I’m a bit mad at Schwab here. Now a few chapters ago, I thought Lila was a goner and then last chapter, it was Kell. Well, that leaves Rhy, doesn’t it? And this chapter… like, what happened there? Rhy was stabbed by Astrid’s sword. Okay, I remember that. And he barely held on; well, Rhy did die and then Kell just couldn’t stand it so he brought him back. And I thought he was using Antari magic but at this point, he was also holding the Stone so it could have been the Antari magic and the Stone magic mingling to bind Rhy and Kell together. So, when Kell kills the Stone’s power, everything that the Stone had ever touched would die too. And I couldn’t believe that that would have included Rhy. No. This chapter was less than a page but I’m still reeling from it. I thought that shivering and then lying still is Schwab translation for he DIED! And I wasn’t okay. 

Jackie: I mean, based on how no one noticed the zombies in the first place, we will see if they notice them now, I mean I would think they’d notice since so many people would have been affected by this sudden surge of the magic being defeated by Kell. I liked Gen and Parrish as well, but whoever we like dies in Schwab’s world apparently, and sadly. 

Yeah, I feel like we were never given a clear view on how the magic works in Schwab’s world. I mean we thought we were given pieces of how it worked throughout the book, but never all the pieces to fit the puzzle. I mean, Schwab likes mysteries, and I think that’s why she phrased that chapter in the way that she did, to make the readers think/believe that she may have just killed Rhy. I mean, I wasn’t thinking of it the way you were with how the Stone’s death was the death of everyone affected by it. I had a feeling that the soul bond and the Stone were kind of two different entities. Like, the Stone may have helped to forge the soul bond, but I think the only thing that could kill Kell and Rhy outside of that are more non-magical circumstances, like bleeding out, heart attack, or something like that. 

Also, I think if Schwab killed Rhy that no one would have wanted to read the next book she has out. 

Kell and Rhy are just too good to not keep together, I guess that’s why they are bonded, until death do they part. 

Jeanna: Red London must look like a war zone at the moment. All these dead bodies lying about. And people would be going about their day. They probably wouldn’t even notice them unless they tripped over them in the street.

If Rhy had died, I certainly wouldn’t want to continue. I’d probably take a long time to get over the fact and then end up reading the book anyway. However, I would be so angry at Schwab for killing off that adorable cupcake. 

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Part 14: Chapter 1

It worked! The Stone is nothing but a rock now. The power was dispelled. Kell checks the binding spell he had made with Rhy and notices that it is still intact. At this point, I was busy mourning Rhy and here Kell thinks he is alive because the spell is intact. Believing that he is still carrying the wounds of both himself and Rhy, he makes a portal to send the rock to Black London. It’s better to be safe than sorry. However, he doesn’t want to go to Black London. So, instead, he is able to make a portal to send Holland who is still alive somehow. AND HE’S BEEN LYING ON THIS BENCH THIS WHOLE TIME. I don’t know why I found this fact hilarious. Like, “Hold on here, Holland. We’ll be right back. We’re going to go kill the White London rulers then we’ll take you somewhere.”

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All in all, this plan of sending Holland to Black London is not the greatest plan ever. No one has been to Black London in years. What if Holland is able to live off the land’s power and come back to haunt them later? Sending someone to Black London, even if they are mostly dead, does not sound like the smart thing to do here. No one knows what is in Black London. For all we know, there could be more Stones of power that could help Holland heal and escape. Oh, no.

With Holland sent away, Kell calls it a job well done. It’s time to go home. Though, he isn’t entirely sure that he can take Lila with him. It was the Stone that helped with her portal travel all those times before. Kell gives her a kiss which seems so final! This whole scene seems so tired and morose. He makes the Red London portal and that’s the end of the chapter. Cliffhanger, as usual. 

Jackie: The thing that I find the funniest about all of this is that magic, which was inside of a rock, caused this much trouble. A rock. Wow. To think that now we will have to inspect all rocks to make sure they aren’t evil-magic-dwelling-beings-looking-to-take-over-the-world. 

Yeah, I found it to be funny too that Holland, almost-dead now, has been just chilling out on a bench this whole time. Like what a place to be during that epic win for Kell and Lila. I mean, I guess they must have figured that he can’t do much damage from there, and I also think Kell probably didn’t have that part planned out of where to put Holland’s body afterwards. 

Yeah, I think Kell should have just tried to end Holland, and not send him off...but wouldn’t that make for a great sequel for when Holland shows up to fight Kell and Lila again? That’s what I thought some of the purpose for sticking him in Black London was anyway. Nice one, Schwab. 

Well, I thought you would have mentioned your ship sailing since Kell had kissed Lila this time, but I think you’re right with the chapter definitely having that morose feeling to it. It’s just like a sad chapter, but also a chapter that wraps up some details, like with Holland, and gives them an end. But hey, why not another cliffhanger Schwab, right? 

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Jeanna: My to-be-read shelf is the size of Mount Everest and Schwab made me go out and get the sequel to this book because too many cliffhangers!

The next book will just be Kell in different locations picking up rocks and testing them for Black London magic. That does remind me: what about the White London ruler’s stash? Athos liked to find things. Are we sure this was the only dangerous item he found? Those items could still be out there and falling into the wrong hands. Yikes.

Initially when Kell brought Holland to White London, I thought he was doing it to bring Holland back to his land. For Holland to die in a place where he felt more comfortable, or the very least, in a place he spent most of his time. Yet, Kell practically pushes him right into that portal to Black London. Wow, Kell. That was vicious.

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If Holland comes back for the sequel, it’ll be one good sequel! As much as Holland is horrible, his story is so intriguing. Holland also being an Antari was interesting too, as there might only be two in existence. I think the fact that he was one wasn’t explored to its full capacity. Come on, let’s see more fights, more spells! I would love to see him come back for the sequel. 

If we are making our wishlists of what we want in the sequel now: Barron is alive and running the tavern, Ned gets his bit of earth, Lila is a successful pirate (and has earned the title THE SEA KING), Rhy and Kell go out drinking at least once, Kell gives up his black-market trading (I mean, has he learned nothing from the Stone?), and of course, number one wish would be Lila and Kell getting together. Schwab, please, make all that and more happen. Jackie, what’s on your sequel wishlist? 

Jackie: If Kell was going to do that in the sequel, I’d be thinking the whole time, “Didn’t you learn the first time Kell?” I have a feeling that in the books to come that we will see what else Athos had hidden in the White London castle. I’m sure there were other dangerous items he had stored away. 

I think after Holland was just trying to kill him not too long ago that Kell probably doesn’t have the same warm and fuzzy feelings for avoiding murder, especially for Holland. I don’t blame him, if I were in the book right now, Holland would be in the same situation Kell has him in now. 

Yeah, as much as Holland gave himself a bad rep, he is an interesting character, and perhaps if he came back in a less demented and evil manner, we could learn more about the Antari. I’m hoping that Schwab will revisit Holland and not fully kill him off. I’d like to get to know more about the Holland before the soul bonding...oh wait, which speaking of that, I don’t know if Holland has a chance to come back since he was soul bonded to the White London rulers. Yeah, I’m not so sure we will see him again since both the rulers are dead...I guess eventually we will find out. 

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Hmm...your sequel wishlist is interesting...I mean if all of your stuff were to happen, then I’m not sure what adventures they’d go on from there, but I’m sure Schwab has lots of tricks up her sleeve. 

On my sequel wishlist, I think I would also want Barron to come back; I’d want to see if Holland comes back, and if he does, what is the significance of the soul bond at that point; I would like to see Ned come back, but with vengeance for Kell, that would make things very interesting; for Lila, I think it would be cool if she had her own ship to call her own; Kell can keep doing his Black Market stuff as far as I’m concerned, it keeps things lively; and I think I’d like to see how Rhy is going to transition from being a prince to a king, and who his queen will be. 

Wow, my list just sounds like total destruction of Kell. 

Jeanna: Oh, no! Since Holland was soul bound to the White London rulers, he should have died, the moment the rulers had died. And yet, he didn’t. I feel like we are creating several more questions for Schwab that she will most likely not answer. Bringing Holland back would be awesome because then we would get to see him without the soul bond, so we would know that his actions would be his own.

I love your wishlist! It would be so strange seeing Ned looking for revenge since we had left him in this puppy dog state, waiting for the tavern to open so he could hopefully meet with Kell. And Kell doing his black-market stuff makes it “lively!” That is so precious. 

You know what will be awesome to see? I’ve already predicted a full-on war of White London to see who the new king or queen is. However, I wonder if the new king or queen will be any better than Athos and Astrid. Will history just repeat itself and keep giving White London the evillest royals ever? Something definitely will happen there.

Part 14: Chapter 2

I almost had a heart attack. Kell comes through to Red London and his arms, which once held Lila in White London, were empty. He tossed his Red London token away but a voice brought him out of his melancholy. LILA! She wasn’t stuck in White London after all. 

Since Schwab can’t waste one minute, the two can’t even get a decent hug in before they are rudely interrupted by the guards who are ordered to take them to the King and Queen. I’m surprised at how quickly they found them, considering it took forever to find Kell during the festivities earlier. Astrid had to even announce him missing before someone was able to locate him.

They are brought to the King and Queen where Kell explains the story of the Stone and Astrid and Athos’ plan to take over the world. Lila makes up a clever story on the spot which the King and Queen seem to buy for the time being. They are most concerned with their son, Rhy. Kell agrees to bring him home when the royal family releases their binds. 

Jackie: I KNOW! I was so worried about Lila, I thought she was gone for a good moment. 

Yeah, they can’t even get a good reunion session in before they are swept into more drama, yeesh! Can’t we get one scene of calm before everything hits the fan again? But, hey I guess that’s what made this story so interesting anyway.

I’m just so glad everything is starting to wrap itself up. Now, Kell can take his time in telling the Queen and King what had happened and then be done with the ending peak in the story. I’m sure they are wondering a ton about what is going on with Rhy and when he will be coming back, but at least they are satisfied with this story for the time being. 

Jeanna: I was ready to throw down the book if Lila hadn’t made it back. She would have been stuck in White London forever and that’s no place to live! No offense, of course, to the citizens of White London but it’s certainly not a place I would consider building a summer home. And despite what Lila thought, because she thought it would be fine if she was stuck in White London-- she’ll figure it out. I think we all know that it probably wouldn’t have been fine. The townspeople would get wind that Lila was one of the people to kill the rulers and she’d become a wanted criminal in no time. And something tells me they wouldn’t even give her a trial.

Thank you, Schwab, for letting Lila come back to Red London.

And what’s up with the guards’ arrival? That was so fast! Isn’t that a bit suspicious? All of these people of Red London had just dropped dead so sure, the guards may be out and about. But are there cameras in the sky? 

I loved the scene with the King and Queen. It’s the first scene we get with them in such a long time. The last time we saw the real King was when he goes to tell Kell that he has to send a message to White London. The last time we saw the Queen was when she insisted that Kell should call her “mother.” It’s been a long time. The only time Lila met the rulers of Red London was when they were being compelled by Astrid. Lila wastes no time here, telling them how it really went down with her and Kell. I thought she got super sassy! And I appreciated her even more for that - though, I must admit that I did suffer from second-hand embarrassment from how Lila conducted herself the whole time. Uh, Lila! You’re talking to the King and Queen here!

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However, when Kell cleared the air and took center stage, it seemed to run much smoother. And no one died or was kidnapped so I call that a good day! 

Jackie: I was freaking out about Lila too. If she had not made it I really don’t know what I would have done. 

Oh, actually I do know. I would have written Schwab a very strongly worded letter about my lack of approval of her character killing off choices. 

Yeah, I’m thinking that Lila would have been in trouble if she had gotten stuck there by herself. I mean, she doesn’t have the best people skills. Her most valuable skill is being able to kill those who oppose her or block her way to a goal she wants to complete. So, yeah, I think Lila would have definitely been in trouble there and would have been sent to die almost immediately. 

Yeah, I mean it’s a bit quick for them to be out and about so quickly, but then again like you said, they probably would already be outside due to all the bodies just lying around too. So, maybe it was a coincidence that they had arrived so quickly? I may be wrong, but with all the bodies everywhere, the guards were probably already around, so it wouldn’t have taken long to get to Kell and Lila. 

Yeah, I mean Lila has the social graces of hyena walking around with its kill still in its mouth. I mean, she is who she is, so I enjoyed the scene of sassy Lila talking with the King and Queen. I mean, I’m also guessing that since Lila was with Kell as they were talking to the King and Queen that the rulers assumed that Lila had something to do with their son not currently being dead, so maybe they just sucked it up for the time being since they knew she had helped out Kell, and in turn, Rhy. I loved her dialogue and thought it was hysterical, and so Lila. I mean she is a pirate that now has kind just helped to save Red London from being taken over by the Stone, Astrid, and Athos. I think she can afford some Lila sass. 

No one died today, HOORAY!!! 

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Jeanna: Lila was being Lila, that’s for sure. 

Do you think the King and Queen bought her story? Lila is very clever and comes up with this story that sounds very plausible, at the time. However, there are some questions about it, that I think will arise later on. At the time of their interrogation, the King and Queen seemed more interested in where their son was and if he was safe. Of course, they wanted to know what had happened, especially since they must have known that they were controlled by Astrid in some way. Kell is able to answer both immediate questions about White London and Rhy. And Lila is able to work an on-the-fly story about how she’s just from out of town and has known Kell and Kell asked for help. If the King and Queen were really paying attention, the story is a bit fishy. One, how can she speak perfect English if she’s not from around the city? Kell mentions something about that while Lila is lying. Two, Kell doesn’t seem to have too many friends. Actually, the only friend he does have is Rhy so it’s suspect that he never brought up Lila with anyone before. And three, Kell doesn’t seem to be the type to ask for help in anything.

What I am saying is: I think this story that she so cleverly spouts to the Red London rulers will come back to bite Lila sometime in the future. At some point, the rulers will not be distracted by White London or the safety of their son and will think how strange that girl, Lila, is. I wonder if Lila will get interrogated again by them in the sequel. 

Jackie: I think that maybe the King and Queen bought her story, and maybe not. I mean, the story is definitely fishy, don’t get me wrong, but I think the King and Queen have higher priorities right now. I mean, they want to know what happened for now, but probably more about Rhy and Kell’s well-being. I think that maybe in the sequel that this decision to lie to the rulers of Red London will come back to Lila in the form of karma. I have a feeling that in the sequel, if Lila is going to remain close to Kell and continue going on adventures, which I believe will definitely happen, that yeah, they will become more concerned about her role in all that happened with Rhy and how Lila came to be in their kingdom out of the blue. 

I’m sure that they will have a sit down with Kell and Rhy at first to determine what they know about Lila and where she really came from. As hinted at earlier in the book, if Lila possesses the magic powers that Kell’s mentor said that she did, then maybe this would be a turning point in that conversation. At that point, if she was a lost Antari, then that would change the whole perception about her in a second. Yeah, she would have still have been lying to them, but her story would have matched up more with what was going on if Lila tells them that in the sequel. 

Anyway, those are just ideas, but I’m interested what is to come of Lila in the sequel with all of this. Is she a lost Antari? If she is, and she learns the powers of one from Kell, does this mean she is supposed to protect Red London as well? How does all of that work in the politics of the different Londons? 

Jeanna: If she was a lost Antari, that would change everything. Would the King and Queen maybe offer her a position as a messenger, just like Kell? Would she go back to Grey London and become messenger for those royals? The questions are endless then - which is usually the case with V.E. Schwab.

Part 14: Chapter 3

RHY IS ALIVE! Schwab has brought someone back to life and I’m so glad it’s the adorable cupcake! The series would not be the same without Rhy. I mean, I’m going to believe that he did actually die when the Stone was dispelled. Maybe only for a moment, like a hiccup of time or something. In orienting to life without the Stone, it must have taken Rhy a moment to get his bearings, I suppose. So, he’s alive and on the mend.

The King and Queen have deemed Kell and Lila innocent of all charges but the townspeople are still a bit wary. Kell visits Rhy to get him up to speed on everything that has happened. It is confirmed, of what we had already suspected that, Holland had given him the compulsion necklace. Rhy had taken it for strength, believing that even without his lack of strength in magic, he could still be a strong king one day. Finally, Schwab answers that question. That’s one, a million more questions to go.

Lila barges into the room without any purpose. It seems she must have been looking for Kell because she says very little of note to Rhy besides some flirting. It was absolutely adorable! I cannot wait for more scenes with the three of them! This seemed like the classic reunion chapter where all the characters get together to chat about fantastic they feel to have survived the adventure. It was a nice change of pace. 

Jackie: I’m so happy Rhy is alive and back joking around with Kell. I don’t think I would have read the sequel if Rhy or Lila hadn’t made it through this whole journey that they all have been on. Honestly, I don’t think I would have even wanted to finish this book if they had both died. I think Rhy probably died for a moment there, but hey, he is alive and kicking!

Oh, my gosh. She finally answered one of our thousand questions that she set us up for in this book. At least we can say for sure now that Rhy kind of just wanted to be like Kell in the fact that Kell is strong with magic, so if Rhy could be promised “strength” from Holland, then he would be a strong king. I don’t blame Rhy for wanting to be a strong king, but man, could you go about that a bit differently in the sequel Rhy? I mean you almost died/did die and came back, like three times, Kell almost died like five times, Lila had a couple close encounters as well, and now Rhy is bound to Kell so that if one of them goes, they are both going down. Geeze Rhy, all that just for some so called “strength” from Holland. 

Oh, my gosh their little reunion session was so cute. It felt right to have this come up so we can see all the characters one last time before the last chapter of the book. I’m hoping these three musketeers can create some more adventures in the sequel, and we can enjoy the banter from all three of them on a journey together. That would be some comedy act. I’d pay money to see that. 

Also, I think Rhy could honestly flirt with a wall at this point. He never misses an opportunity, even when he is recovering from near death and has a soul bond. He is some character. 

Jeanna: I absolutely adore Rhy! Yes, he could flirt with a wall! He’s in his bedroom recovering and as soon as he sees Lila, his flirting switches turn on. I thought it was great that despite having just died, he was already cracking jokes and flirting. Classic Rhy. 

The three of them better join forces in the sequel. I need more scenes like this. The book will be so funny if Rhy kept flirting with everyone and everything. And, of course, we already know that Kell will be hunting down every stone in the land and testing it for Black London magic. And Lila better turn around that ship of hers and come back to the real ship of the book: Lila and Kell. That most definitely needs to happen in the sequel. 

I understand why Rhy wanted strength, feeling that he was lacking in magic. But next time, he should really consider talking to Kell or some other friends about his concerns. Like, you accept a magic necklace from Holland who doesn’t make unannounced visits. Holland would not be my first choice in accepting gifts/advice about how to best run the country on. Hopefully, like you said, Rhy has learned his lesson. He should hire an official gift opener, in case any more gifts are a bit strange. 

Part 14: Chapter 4

If the last chapter was the classic reunion chapter, this chapter is certainly the classic ‘until next time’ chapter. It was such a nice conclusion. There wasn’t a horrible cliffhanger here. And I was most definitely expecting one from Schwab. By the end of the chapter, I felt content. Even though there’s still a list of questions I have for Schwab, I can’t deny that in this last chapter, it concluded the book very well.

Happy How I Met Your Mother GIF

Lila can’t stay in the palace long. Since she created such a story to the royal family, they believe her to be just visiting anyway. There was going to come a time that she had to say goodbye. And that time was now. Kell walks her to the docks but saying goodbye is always hard to do among friends. For the occasion, he got her a present. In the reflection of Tieren’s words, there is magic in Lila so Kell gifts her the magic box we had seen from the beginning. It is usually a children’s toy but it does help magic users hone their magic element, whatever that may be. I’m looking forward to see Lila getting the box to work. And hopefully, with that, her being the an Antari will come to fruition.

Kell believes that their paths will cross again. We know they probably will too. The way he describes Lila as a fixed point is gorgeous. So cute! They part then and Lila makes her way along the docks alone. She takes stock of the ships there and picks out one just for her. 

Jackie: Yeah, I agree that this was a nice chapter, and there were no horrible cliffhangers at the end. I still have like thousands of questions for Schwab, but for now, I am content in the answers we have been given. 

Yeah, I figured Lila would be itching to leave and start a new adventure in Red London. I was so excited to find out the gift Kell had gotten her, I was like, this must be our hint that her magic powers are definitely going to come into play in the sequel. I know that this goodbye must have been hard, but I believe that all of these awesome characters will be back again in the next book. I really can’t wait to see what becomes of Lila in the next book, I hope you were right about her being a lost Antari. 

I loved the way that this ended with Lila scouting out and going after the ship that she had wanted for her adventures. I can’t wait to see how she re-enters herself in the sequel, maybe it will be docking in on her pirate ship to meet up with Kell and Rhy. I just can’t wait to see what comes of these three. 

Jeanna: As much as Schwab left us with a boatload of questions, I wonder if A Darker Shade of Magic was originally meant to be a standalone. It doesn’t really set up the sequel in any significant way. Of course, we have so many questions. And we definitely want to know more about Lila and what sort of powers she has. Yet, with the sort of ending Schwab gives us, it doesn’t really give any hints as to what the sequel will be about.

It will be interesting to see how the sequel begins and how Schwab will set everything out. How much time has passed since this book and that book? Will Lila be a pirate, terrorizing everyone and making a name for herself? Will Kell go back to working on the Black Market? I don’t even think we have to ask what Rhy will be up to because I bet he’s going to go back to being himself like always, adorable as usual. 

Since there are minimal hints on what the sequel will be about, it’s hard to say what adventure they will go on and what conflicts they will face: though, I predicted a while ago, judging by the title, A Gathering of Shadows, that there may be a gathering of Shadows. The Shadows were the group of people who had kidnapped Rhy. However, Kell believed that he had murdered them all so it’ll be an interesting turn of events to see if the group returns in some way. 

Jackie: I think that Schwab may have done that on purpose. Like design this book to have several open-ended questions, and only answer a few at a time. I mean she remembered the details with Rhy and Holland, and to explain that to the audience of readers. I think she just wanted us to suffer to be honest. 

Yeah, I’m excited to see what features and questions they will address from this book and bring into the next one. Like, who will be our new side characters? Is Ned coming back for Kell? I’m sure he has some beef with him you know, and Schwab briefly re-entered him into the book for that short chapter, so she hasn’t forgotten about him. 

John Cleese Aliens GIF

Yeah, I agree with your prediction. I mean, the way Schwab left it, there are so many unanswered questions with much adventure to come, I’m sure. So she kind of has a lot, in my opinion, to work with and to design as she wants. Which will be awesome, but so frustrating at the same time. 

Jeanna: She could go anywhere with adding a new slew of characters. Lila would have to hire a crew to help with her ship. Kell needs a new hang out since Holland destroyed the tavern he frequented. Rhy will need to celebrate his birthday again, since he missed it the first time, of course. 

Also, didn’t the Stone infect Grey London too? I know Booth died because he wasn’t a very good vessel. However, didn’t Booth infect others? Is there a chance that the Stone’s power may still be at large in Gray London?

By ending it this way, you are entirely right that she could do whatever she wants. It reminds me of this book I read last year where the first book ended with this magic spell that reversed time so literally the whole book that I had just read didn’t happen. In the sequel, the author had a complete clean slate to work the characters the way she wanted. Schwab does something not exactly similar but close-enough in that we know the characters now and we care about them. She doesn’t have to explain the logistics of the world to us and she can go wherever she wants. I wonder if we’ll make it to Black London in the sequel. That would be interesting to see the place that was only discussed in this book. 

Jackie: I’m still not clear on this whole Stone thing, to be honest. I’m thinking that maybe Schwab will never tell us the full story on it. I guess maybe in the sequel Schwab will bring us back to Grey London to check in with the characters there. 

Yeah, I would love to see them talk about and go to Black London on one of their adventures.

Maybe Lila, if she is a lost Antari, and discovers her powers, maybe she will want to repopulate Black London and be the Antari protecting that London. I could see her being there since there is mystery behind Black London, and there is still mystery to Lila, she would fit in well. 

Jeanna: Lila in Black London?! That sounds amazing! I wonder if they’ll end up opening the doors so all the people of London can once again find peace among each other. And Kell could stop playing mailman.

I guess there’s really only one way to see if all our predictions come true. And that’s to read the next book, A Gathering of Shadows, which is thankfully already released! 

Final Thoughts of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Jeanna: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab was so amazing! It is definitely worth all the hype and more. This may turn out to be the favorite book I’ve read all year. It has everything for everyone. It keeps you on your toes. It kills you every five seconds but makes you feel alive all the same. The story is well-structured and keeps you guessing about everything. The story is CRAZY with a wonderful cast of characters. These characters are incredibly well-written. I feel like I could become immediate friends with Lila, Kell and Rhy from the very beginning. The settings of the different Londons are so distinct. There is just so much to rave about this book. 

Jackie: This book...A Darker Shade of Magic was amazing! I did not know about all the hype surrounding the book, but I knew that if Jeanna had picked this book to do the discussion around that, it must be a good pick. I thought that the characters were well developed, and their choices and actions lined up with their back story and general personality. Although I was complaining A LOT about there being a lot of mystery to this book, I was very satisfied with it, overall. The mystery in this book makes you want to keep reading until the end, and then go get the next books in the series. All in all, I give this book five out of five music boxes. 

This concludes the discussion of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. What did you think?

A Darker Shade of Magic book discussion

Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Week 12)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Welcome to the A Darker Shade of Magic book discussion! We are going to have a blast reading along together. Each week, following the schedule, my friend Jackie and I will recap that particular week’s chapters with hilarious commentary. At the end of each discussion post, there will be a few questions to get the party started. These questions serve as food for thought. All comments related to the book and this week’s chapters are always welcome! Remember: I am giving away a copy of the paperback edition of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (for extra entries, comment below)! Now, let’s get this party started!

This week, we'll be discussing Part 12, Chapter 5 to 6 and Part 13, Chapter 1 to 3. To depict our thoughts in the most coherent way possible (after all, this is a dialogue between friends), my font color will stay black and Jackie's color will be red.

DISCLAIMER: Spoilers ahead! This post discusses this week’s chapters of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. If you do not want to be spoiled on what happens in the book, don’t read any further.

Part 12: Chapter 5

Jeanna: Kell is pulled back from the door he made for himself and Lila. Holland catches him and Kell loses his opening to travel to White London. Holland is set on retrieving the Stone for the twin rulers. However, even though he was told to bring Kell in alive, he doesn’t have any qualms of “accidentally” killing him if that’s what it takes to get the Stone back into White London’s possession.

Kell and Holland fight. And for most of the fight, it looks hopeless for Kell. He doesn’t want to give into the Stone and fight using its magic but he doesn’t want to die either. The struggle is real. In the end, it’s Kell’s clever thinking that get him out of Holland’s grasp. Kell is able to tie Holland up with chains. Though, Holland is a fighter and if left to his own devices, those chains would be off in mere seconds. Kell, regretfully, realizes it’s him or Holland. He stabs Holland in the back with a metal piece.

Ouch 40 Days And 40 Nights GIF

Holland may have not had any problem killing Kell but Kell certainly regrets it immediately. He has just murdered the only other Antari in existence (that we know of). And Holland let him do it, which is even more curious. Holland knows the moment he is about to get stabbed in the back. I wonder what that fact may mean: why didn’t Holland duck or otherwise fight with Kell some more? Why does he go so willingly to death? Doesn’t it seem a little too easy?

Kell is about to steal a White London token on Holland’s person. After thinking on it, he decides to take Holland’s body with him. And, well, Holland’s not dead yet but quite close to it. And knowing Schwab up to this point, I don’t think Holland is going to live much longer.

Jackie: Yeah, I posed this certain piece as a question, but I was wondering, did Holland want Kell to be able to reach Black London, or at least did Holland want an end to his life being puppeteered by Astrid and Athos? This final blow that Kell makes, Kell remarks that Holland definitely saw it coming and could have easily countered or gotten out of the way of this. Instead, he takes the blow, and the fight is just about over for Holland. I wonder though what Holland’s intentions were. To be relieved of his soul bond with the White London rulers, or to give Kell the opportunity to make his way through White London, and then to Black London. 

From how Kell describes his reaction of relief, I’m going to assume that his reasoning was to be released from the soul bond. I don’t blame him. If I had to be bonded to Astrid and Athos until death, I would probably do something similar to get out of that horrific existence. 

I thought Kell’s fight with Holland was interesting as well, because the reader is led to believe that Holland is basically going to take Kell out. Kell just is not as strong and quick as Holland it seems, and if it wasn’t for Holland’s supposed want to be relieved of his soul bond, then Kell may not be alive at this point in the book. Kell has got to get a personal trainer and bulk up, seriously. If he’s going to have to protect himself and Lila from the citizens of White and Black London, he’s going to need a lot of natural power to rely on if he chooses to not use the Stone. 

angry power GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

I agree, knowing Schwab, I think that Holland is going to die shortly after Kell leaves. I wish we could have seen an existence of Holland before he was soul bonded to Athos and Astrid. I wonder what he would have been like. Do you think Kell and him could have been friends? 

Jeanna: I think Holland doesn’t really care about Kell making it to Black London. He’s made it abundantly clear that even against orders, he’ll have no problem with killing Kell. I want to believe that Holland has some sort of sense in that if the Stone goes to the White London rulers, it’s all over. However, the soul bond controls him so even if he had lost the fight here, he would have to come back at Kell again until he succeeded.

In that moment when Holland knows he is about to die, Kell takes notice of it. In the coming chapters, we get to see Beloc, a character from earlier in the book. We had mentioned a while ago that the bond that controls Holland sounds similar to the bond that controls Beloc. If we are continuing with the parallelism between the two characters, both of their deaths are extremely familiar. Having had time to think about Holland’s lack of fighting in the end, it reminded me a lot of how Beloc asks to be killed. The soul bond is absolutely terrifying and the young boy has only had a week or so under their control - just imagine how long Holland himself has been under the White London rulers’ control. Holland is probably too proud to tell Kell to murder him and maybe he even knows that White London has eyes everywhere. However, I think Holland is almost happy for the end because it means the end of his suffering.

And he’s not dead yet. There’s still a chance that he somehow heals or something. Don’t Antari heal rather quickly? (There’s also still a chance Barron is alive but I think that’s a slim chance.)

Yeah, shouldn’t Kell know how to fight? You’d think working for the royal family, passing along messages, that the King and Queen would give him some training. In every fight Kell has had with Holland thus far, it’s always a surprise that Kell wins. Because Holland seems to be a much better fighter. Even Lila is a better fighter. Kell may know his usual Antari spells but he’s no match when it comes to fists.

What did you think of Kell’s decision to bring Holland along to White London? There are two ways that I’m looking at this: Kell has always been the nicer of the two and, of course, bringing Holland back to his homeland (though wasn’t Holland not from White London?) to have a proper burial is most kind. Also, it seems a rash decision. Kell was going to just raid Holland’s pockets for a White London trinket, but instead he’s now carrying around an almost-dead weight that will no doubt slow Kell down if another fight should arise.

Jackie: I agree with you about Holland’s intentions that he didn’t really care about Kell being able to continue his journey to Black London. 

That’s true about Holland and Beloc too. I have a feeling though that Holland wants it to be over. As you drew the examples between Beloc and Holland, Beloc was terrified just for that short length of time under the soul bond, so while Holland has had time to grow accustomed to it, the bond must be awful to have to be under each waking moment of every day. 

I would find it interesting if Holland and Barron were to come back all of the sudden, I mean it would make for a plot twist ending, seriously. 

As far as Kell’s decision to being Holland to White London, I think he felt guilty over having to almost-kill Holland, so I feel like he was trying to make Holland’s death a little more pleasant by at least trying to have a nice send off for him. However, as you pointed out, having to carry a body around would be a massive pain especially if some citizens, or the rulers themselves met up with Kell before he could find a place to bring the body to. Imagine Kell’s lack of fighting skills while having this massive body to haul around during the middle of a magic fight to protect himself, and maybe Lila as well? I mean, Kell already has his fighting issues, so that would be such a bad situation to run into. 

I personally think that while I appreciate Kell’s ties to sentiment and having purpose and meaning behind his kills, that he is too sappy. This behavior is definitely going to contribute to his downfall one day. Like, it’s fine to want to send off Holland in a decent manner, but not while you’ve got the Stone on you that the White London rulers and other greedy citizens can smell from three London’s away.

Jeanna: You know what would make a most crazy plot twist: if Powell came back from the dead. Powell and Parrish are the only ones we saw die, without question. Holland is only mostly-dead. Barron’s death was a fade to black scene. If Schwab just had everyone come back (and not as zombies), that would be something.

Bringing Holland back is not the best plan, I think. If Athos and Astrid cared about Holland at all, I would think they’d be mighty angry that Kell had killed him. Of course, we know that it doesn’t happen that way. However, bringing White London’s Antari back into the lion’s den while there’s a fight brewing is not the best plan. The rulers are already angry about the Stone and now, they know about Holland too so they’re going to be even more angry, I would think.

Part 12: Chapter 6

Kell, with Holland, walk in on this image of Lila still fighting her own in White London. She has two bloodied knives, clearly having already used them. There’s a pile of bodies and yet, more townspeople advance on her. Go, Lila!

Go Get A Donut I Got This GIF by Survivor’s Remorse

Kell swoops in and helps her fend them off. I wouldn’t call it rescuing since Lila was doing a grand job on her own. Once they get across the bridge, the townspeople give them a wide berth as they’re closer to the castle now.

Lila hopes Kell gave Holland what he deserved. However, Kell doesn’t seem to fault Holland at all. He seems to regret putting him in this state - mostly-dead. He also seems to solely blame his evil behavior on the fact that he is soul bound to the White London rulers. I don’t buy that. As much as I would love to believe there may be some good in Holland, it’s hard to believe when he goes around trying to kill Kell every chance he gets.

Kell and Lila, with Holland in tow, enter the castle grounds. No one is ready for what’s to come. I’m certainly not ready.

Jackie: Lila is seriously an amazing fighter, and she doesn’t even have magical powers to help her (well she might, as we hinted at last week’s discussion). 

I wouldn’t call Kell a hero either since Lila probably could have finished those townspeople off on her own, and plus, as shown in the fight between Kell and Holland, I’m doubting Kell’s abilities to fight more and more as the story continues. 

Yeah, I mean I would like to believe that there was good in Holland as well, but since he made up his time by trying to kill Kell, I agree that there was not a lot of good left in him, if any. How can there be good in you with a soul bond to the most horrid rulers of White London though? I wonder how much of that soul bond morphed Holland’s mind though, like after not having complete control over yourself and being forced to do God knows what awful things instructed by the White London rulers, when does that start to affect you and the way that you think? It has got to have some kind of emotional and behavioral effect overtime. 

No one is ready for what may happen. Like I’m rooting for Kell and Lila, but Kell better bring his a-game magic fighting skills this time around, otherwise it could be the end. 

Jeanna: Lila could have probably single-handedly taken on everyone in White London and still win. She’s a fighter, a pirate, and, of course, a winner!

The only thing Kell can really rely on (because he certainly can’t rely on his fighting skills) is his magic work. Let’s hope he’s on his game with knowing all his spells and stuff. In this chapter, Kell and Lila went up against the townspeople of White London and as soon as Kell enters the picture, he decides to have them run. They’re about to go up against the rulers of White London. They’re 100 times more ruthless than their townspeople so it’s not looking good for them.

Part 13: Chapter 1

This chapter is just one page but we learn some important things for such a short chapter. Athos has the other half of the Stone which I believe is news to us. At least, I didn’t recall him having the other half. Again, Schwab keeps us in the dark until the last possible moment. Holland had mentioned that Athos has a knack for finding things and he had found the half of the Stone that Kell now possesses. Athos must have gotten a hold of the other half in a similar way. Though, it is strange that both halves were in White London all this time. I was thinking that there was going to be some sort of adventure where we’d first have to find the other half and then go to Black London to destroy them both. Well, thanks, Athos for making it so easy.

Also, Athos has been watching the whole thing, just as we were reading the book, he’s been watching the story unfold like a movie. He knows everything that has gone down. Something I thought odd here was that he refers to the two Antari as “playthings.” In his eyes, Holland was his plaything and Kell is Astrid’s. That’s interesting, considering Kell works for Red London and has nothing to do with White London except play delivery boy.

I Don'T Think So No GIF by Rodney Dangerfield

And can you believe that Astrid is still in Red London wreaking havoc? Her body is sitting limply in her throne. Yet, her soul is still taking control of that necklace in Red London. I wonder what’s going on there. Is Rhy doing okay? How did Rhy feel when Kell was getting suffocated by Holland two chapters ago? Everything that happens to Kell now, even the Stone’s power, is also happening to Rhy. Gulp.

Jackie: Yeah, I didn’t expect both halves to be in the same London in the end. Just as you said, I thought we’d have to go on an adventure to find the other half, but hey, that was easy. 

Easy GIF

Yeah, I think that Astrid and Athos think that they are the rulers of all Londons for whatever reasons, so they consider anything or anyone “less powerful” than them to be somewhat of a plaything. All these rulers do is take advantage of others as if they were playthings, just like Astrid is with the necklace, and is taking over the person who wears the necklace. I think that Holland and Kell have a certain amount of discomfort, and perhaps fear and hesitation when it comes to the White London rulers. I believe that this is due to the complete lack of sanity that these rulers have. I mean, their main goal I think is to be rulers of all the Londons, that’s what it seems like anyway. I think this is why Astrid and Athos take that fear and use it to their advantage to have a certain amount of control over both Antari. I mean Holland has a soul bond to the rulers and Kell, earlier in the book, was called to White London and had wanted to leave right after taking care of his business there, but then ends up staying for drinks at the fear of upsetting the White London rulers. Athos and Astrid are just ruthless rulers. 

Oh yes, and we still have Astrid running all over Red London making it a haven of destruction at the moment. I hope that Rhy is alright though. Getting choked by Holland definitely had to be a surprise since Rhy probably had no idea why he felt like he was choking out of nowhere. I just hope that Kell and Lila can get rid of these rulers so that Rhy can be safe, at least for the time being. 

Jeanna: Astrid and Athos seriously need to get off their high horse. I think it would be interesting to see what they actually did to become the rulers. Like, we get snippets of how they accomplished that with their garden of statues but I want more back story. Did they both wake up one day and say to each other that they wanted to rule the world? Then, in doing so, the power got to them and now they’re completely crazy. Sure, their plans have worked, for the most part, but NO ONE SEEMS TO NOTICE THE ZOMBIES IN THEIR BACKYARD. Still.

And the playthings comment, which I entirely agree with you is how the rulers perceive everyone else. I’m still imagining the King and Queen’s creepy calm faces while everyone else is screaming in terror back in Red London. The rulers don’t care about anyone except themselves and their needs alone. So, it makes total sense that each ruler took claim to one of the Antari.

Since Astrid is running around still, you’d think Gen would have caught up to her by now. So I wonder if she might have noticed the epidemic that the Stone has caused or if she’s still clueless. And what’s her plan in Red London if it wasn’t to kill the prince - since the prince is gone now and she failed at that anyway? Why is she still hovering there?

Jackie: Oh my gosh, I can only imagine the things they did to become rulers of White London. And, yes, I think they literally woke up one day, had their morning tea, then had a discussion about world domination. I could picture that clearly in my mind…

And yes, I have no idea how these zombies are still not being noticed, like is everyone that unaware of their surroundings? I mean at this point it’s a race between Astrid’s necklace and the Stone’s abilities to take over people to see who wins out on this week's edition of our new television show, hosted by Schwab, WORLD DOMINATION, LONDON STYLE! WHO WILL WIN, THE BOLD, THE BEAUTIFUL, THE METICULOUS, OR A ROCK? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!

Simon Cowell We Can Take Over The World GIF by America's Got Talent

Yeah, I wonder why Astrid is still in Red London as well since the prince is still alive, like what is she doing there? Manipulating bodies and killing people for fun? 

Jeanna: I would most definitely tune in to that show! You could also turn it into a video game. Players would lose points every time they passed a character that was actually a zombie and they didn’t realize it.

Part 13: Chapter 2

Kell is worried because there’s absolutely no guards in the halls, guiding his way. As bad as those robot guards are, the absence of them is even worse. White London is terrifying but abandoned hallways in White London is horror movie material. Kell, I really hope you know what you are doing.

His big plan is to meet Athos head on. Athos has one half of the Stone. And Kell has the other half. However, Kell has already planned not to use the Stone. When it’s not looking good for Kell right in the beginning. They begin fighting. Athos spends most of the fight laughing because, apparently, Kell’s skills are hilarious. I don’t like that Athos is enjoying this one bit.

Meanwhile, Lila continues with her part of the plan. She’s off to kill Astrid, who is sleeping soundly in the throne room. It’s genius since Athos is so distracted with the fight. She is able to find her way through the castle by way of the south doors. She makes it to the door to the throne room and surprisingly, a character we know guards the door. Beloc, that boy who refused to bow to the rulers, is now under the rulers’ spell. There is no way he’s moving from the spot, he can’t. The scene seems devoid of emotion but still powerful in how he wishes to be cut down quickly. Lila does as Beloc requests and gains access to the throne room.

A quick side note here: where did they stow Holland? They just drop him in the stone garden?

Business Cleaner GIF

Jackie: Yeah, I’d be terrified if I was going in to face Astrid and Athos and there wasn’t even guards out to help protect them. I mean, that’s terrifying. 

I don’t like that Athos finds Kell’s fighting abilities laughable either. I mean, geeze Kell, you almost get killed by Holland and now you are even weak against Athos too...like you are going to die if you don’t figure out something and fast!

Yeah, I felt bad when Lila had to take down Beloc in order to get into the throne room, but he probably just didn’t want to be controlled anymore either. Just being bound to these two awful rulers would have anyone desperate to be killed and end their eternal suffering it seems. 

Yeah, I was wondering where Holland’s body was put as well. Maybe they put him in the stone garden to blend in. Or they just dropped him off in a random spot maybe. I’m not sure if Kell had worked out where he planned to put Holland to be honest. Kell makes lots of hasty decisions. 

Jeanna: Did they just give the guards the night off? Or do you think when they’re off duty they stand perfectly still in rows in the basement or something? That would be so scary.

Kell’s skills may be hilarious but you never want to hear that coming from your opponent. Overall, though their plan is the best they could have done with what they had to work with. Kell takes on Athos. And Lila takes on Astrid. And Astrid is asleep so the plan sounds fool-proof. Though I don’t think they took into account Kell’s skill as a fighter or his unwillingness to use the Stone.

If Lila was in charge of leaving Holland, she’d probably just drop him right in the river. Though, I wonder if he’s still alive. They haven’t mentioned it for a while.

Jackie: I totally agree though about Lila throwing him into a river, she might doubletap him with her knife just to ensure he died a painful death.

Jeanna: Doubletap him! Got to make sure he’s fully dead, after all!

Part 13: Chapter 3

Kell and Athos are fighting. And Kell is fighting the Stone. He doesn’t want to let the Stone win but after he took a few hits, Kell decides to finally use it. As much as it is saving him from death for the moment, he doesn’t want to let the Stone control him.

In the meantime, (this jumping back and forth in chapters was so stressful!) Lila enters the throne room. It all seems too easy. Astrid is sleeping on her throne and no one comes out to stop Lila. She aims her gun and shoots Astrid. Only to have the bullet ricochet off this bubble protection spell around Astrid. Of course, it ricochets right into Lila’s shoulder. However, she’s not about to give up.

Lila may not know a thing about magic but she’s clever enough to know that a broken spell cannot make a whole spell. When she finds foreign symbols on the throne, she begins to scratch out the last symbol. Sure enough, the protection spell dims, leaving Astrid wide open for attack. Only in breaking the protection spell, she woke up Astrid. If you thought killing a sleeping Astrid was hard, a fully awake Astrid is probably impossible to kill.

Though, that is not so with Athos. Athos uses the Stone to create a large serpent to land the final blow on Kell. Yet, Kell convinces Athos that the ruler wanted to be the one to kill him and in making the Stone’s power do it, he’s copping out on using his own hands. Athos agrees and tries to make the snake disappear. Similar to that undressing Kell that Lila conjured up (good times), the Stone’s magic turns on its creator and kills Athos, leaving behind the half of the Stone. One ruler down, the other ruler to go.

Jackie: I was just hoping that when Kell had to use the Stone to fight that he would be able to have control over himself to finish Athos, if he could. 

Lila is one tough chick. Like she just got a ricochet shot to the shoulder, and she keeps on, just like her pirate self. I mean, if I got a shot to the shoulder like that, or at all, it would be game over for me. Lila is good with her street and magic smarts. Like you said, for someone who doesn’t know almost anything about magic, she is able to handle these situations with ease. I feel like she handles the people with magical powers better than Kell can at times. I wonder, like we were discussing last week if Lila’s magical powers, if she does have any, will they come into play with her fight with Astrid as Astrid wakes from her sleep. That would be an awesome time for powers to come into play since I’m sure Astrid will just be aiming to kill Lila at this point. 

Which by the way, when Astrid was waking up, this image popped into my mind, of her being like you woke me from my slumber!

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Thank god Kell is smarter than Athos. Like seriously, if Kell didn’t have his intelligent wit to him, he would have died way earlier in the book. After all of this is over, if Kell survives all of this, he seriously needs to strengthen up his fighting skills, maybe Lila can teach him the one-two punch or something. 

Jeanna: When I counted out 30-pages each for this discussion, I swear I did not do this on purpose. It seems that every time we end anymore, we always end on a cliffhanger. We may know what happened to Athos but Astrid is still a very big threat. And Lila is shot! And Astrid is in her element and Lila doesn’t know magic. And I’m just so worried for how the next few chapters are going to go down.

Nervous Pyeongchang 2018 GIF by NBC Olympics

How much control Kell is able to keep the Stone at bay this long is astounding. However, just as Holland mentioned, the Stone will eventually take over. I wonder if the Antari would turn into a zombie. Or, also, now that Rhy is bonded with Kell if that was maybe the reason, he was able to keep the Stone away for so long is because two souls are at work here.

You think Astrid will awaken the powers within Lila! Oh, my, I didn’t even think of that. I hope that happens. It would be absolutely horrible to have to go through that kind of torture that basically opens a whole new part of the self to survive but I kind of hope that’s what happens. Astrid would have no clue what hit her. And Kell has to come in to give her backup at some point, right? The look on his face if Lila turns out to be an Antari will be so priceless.

Yes, Kell may have smarts but those fighting skills are seriously lacking. In their downtime, which I wouldn’t think these two have much of, Lila should totally teach them how to fight. Can all of your theories come true? But especially the last one because that would help my ship sail. :)

Jackie: Jeanna, we LITERALLY ALWAYS END ON A CLIFFHANGER. ALWAYS! I mean thank goodness we are closer to the end of the book, but I’m going to be so upset if Schwab leaves us on a complete cliffhanger in the end since I’d like to have some sense of closure with some of the stuff that has gone on throughout the book. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in these last chapters of the book, but I can’t wait to find out. I hope Kell and Lila make it. 

That’s an interesting idea about Rhy being bonded to Kell so the Stone’s power is a bit easier for Kell to keep at bay. That could be a big reason why, I mean Kell has a lot of willpower, but by now I thought he would have completely let it take over him, by accident really, not on purpose. 

I really hope both my theories come true, or some of them are confirmed before the end of the book at least. I like this book a lot but I feel like I’ve been stuck in 23 mysteries at once in this book with little to no answers given, or just sprinkled into dialogue. Schwab just enjoys torturing us. 

I would love to see the look on Kell’s face if Lila did turn out to be Antari and was using her powers to try and defeat Astrid. Like, that would be amazing. 

I’m all about ships staying afloat and sailing as well. I can see Lila and Kell having their cute and witty banter as Lila makes fun of him for his lame fighting skills. He can’t wit his way out of that one, so the ship will be forced to sail, strong and proud. 

Jeanna: I hope you have a copy of the sequel because since there’s only around 30 pages until the end of the book, it’s looking like Schwab isn’t going to wrap this up in a nice little bow for us. And for me, this book -- I know it’s such a cliché to say -- has felt like I’m on a rollercoaster. Only the ride has gotten stuck on the loop, so we’ve been hanging upside down for a good 200 pages.

And Kell and Lila better make it! There’s no hoping about it. They’re making it, end of story.

This concludes this week's chapters of the discussion. What did you think?

  • Why were both halves of the Stone in White London?
  • If Athos had watched all that has happened, how does he not know about Kell and Lila’s plan?
  • Did Holland want Kell to be able to get to White London in his quest to return the Stone to Black London? Kell describes how he felt Holland knew that he’d seen what would be Kell’s final blow coming, but he reacted to it in a way of relief more than anger or pain. What do you think?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books I Disliked but Am Really Glad I Read

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

There are many books out there that just weren’t for me. Whether they were classics or bestsellers, I just didn’t care for some of them. However, at least, I can now say that I read them, right? I can brag to all my friends and tell them how I read this book—and let’s not mention my thoughts on it.

Whether it’s for bragging rights or something else, I’m glad I read all these books I disliked. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is: Top 10 Books I Disliked but Am Really Glad I Read:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: I found the plot to be a bit disorganized and slow. The unreliable narrator grated on my nerves. Despite my dislike, I can now say that I read it. It was one of the most hyped books the year it released. Even though I didn’t like it, I was able to be a part of the hyped community while reading. Plus, I was able to go into the movie knowing how everything went down in the book.

Matched by Ally Condie: The dystopia genre is hit or miss for me and Matched was most definitely a miss. I can’t recall any one thing that put me off but overall, Matched seemed to be such a cliché of all the other bestselling works out there. Ugh. That cover though needed to be on my shelf so I can now put it with all the other read books on my shelf.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore: I can’t say whether I found out Pittacus Lore was James Frey before or after finishing I Am Number Four. Naught a few years before, James Frey wrote his memoir and Oprah discovered he had lied for entertainment effect. Having never read his memoir, I can’t really say that’s why I didn’t like I Am Number Four. However, after finding several typos and other grammatical mistakes in the book, I couldn’t continue with the rest of the series. Just like The Girl on the Train, I read it so I could see how the movie would fare.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens: Look it! I can say that I’ve read at least one of Charles Dickens’ books. I’m hoping to read Great Expectations someday, it’s waiting for me on my shelf. Until I do, I can say I read the last book Dickens wrote before he passed away. The Mystery of Edwin Drood will remain a mystery as Dickens never finished the manuscript.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling: Rowling spent seven amazing novels developing Harry Potter’s character. And it seems we get to see all that development shatter in what is considered a continuation of J.K. Rowling’s series. The book didn’t feel right and I know a lot of people won’t like me for saying this but I didn’t like it. However, of course, I waited in line for hours to get a copy so there’s no way I’m giving up the book. Besides adding it to my Harry Potter collection, I can at least say that I read it. My brother got half way through and gave up for many of the same reasons I didn’t like it.

And I Darken by Kiersten White: I love love love White’s Paranormalcy series. It’s absolutely hilarious and fun! And I Darken is the complete opposite of her previous series. However, I do not regret reading the book—as much as I won’t be continuing with the series—it was fantastic to see White’s writing style in an entirely different way.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley: Another book that I’m glad to have read so I can put on my read shelf because that cover is absolutely stunning! Though I did learn, if it’s about talking animals, I must steer clear.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer: I read this just last year. Finally. I was deep in my love for Twilight when I purchased the book and even though I didn’t really like it, I can put it next to all my other Twilight books and say that I read it.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf: It’s probably the only Woolf book I will ever read. At least I can say I read something by her.

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard: I wanted to love this one to continue with my loving streak of the Red Queen series. Yet, I thought most of the stories were just okay. Still, I read it and it can stand next to the series on my read shelf.

What books did you dislike but are glad you’ve read?